- Under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the agriculture sector of Madhya Pradesh has grown exponentially.
- During the last year’s wheat season, Madhya Pradesh produced 336 lakh tonnes (LT) of wheat compared to 175.67 LT by Punjab’s farmers.
- wheat grown in MP sells at least 10 rupees per kg more than Punjab’s wheat.
- Madhya Pradesh’s economy relies on agriculture, with 70 per cent of the people employed in the agriculture sector against 55 per cent of the national average.
- In 2018, the government introduced a scheme to help farmers under which they could set up processing plants for onion, tomato, and soybean.
In the last one and a half decades, one state that has won the praise from supporters and critics alike for the transformation of its agricultural sector is Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh. Under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the agriculture sector of Madhya Pradesh has grown exponentially, and it toppled Punjab – the granary of India – in the last few years.
While many farmers in Punjab and Haryana are dependent on government procurement of their wheat production, the farmers from MP have embraced market forces. Also, they have consistently increased their share in Union government procurement.
During the last year’s wheat season, Madhya Pradesh produced 336 lakh tonnes (LT) of wheat compared to 175.67 LT by Punjab’s farmers. So, the production is almost double but the farmers from MP sold only 129 lakh tonnes (39 per cent of the total production) compared to 127.62 LT (72.6% of total production) by Punjab.
Due to the poor quality of Punjab’s wheat production – they are dependent on fertilizers to increase productivity – the market forces do not embrace it. In the open market, the wheat grown in MP sells at least 10 rupees per kg more than Punjab’s wheat. Punjab’s farmers are entirely dependent on the government given the poor quality of wheat produced by them.
In the last one and a half-decade, when Punjab’s farmers no longer remained attached to farms and became dependent on labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for production and the government for selling the produce, Shivraj Singh Chouhan led the farmers of Madhya Pradesh to an agricultural revolution.
Madhya Pradesh’s economy relies on agriculture, with 70 per cent of the people employed in the agriculture sector against 55 per cent of the national average. Therefore Shivraj Chouhan decided to focus on reforming the agricultural division of the state. When BJP came to power in the state, MP’s share in the agricultural output of the country was 5 per cent, and it reached 8 per cent in 2014 and is expected to touch 10 per cent very soon.
Under Digvijay Singh, MP’s share in wheat production of the country declined from 11.3 per cent to 10.2 per cent within one decade, while under Chouhan’s leadership its share almost doubled to 17 per cent. Before Shivraj Chouhan, agriculture was largely dependent on rainwater and this made farmers vulnerable to droughts. Chouhan government made heavy investments in agricultural infrastructure, particularly in irrigation. The MP state government decided to give a bonus on the MSP of wheat which played a huge part in encouraging farmers. It is not just wheat production where MP performs well, the state’s share in Soybean (90%), Grams (36%), Oilseeds (25%), and Pulses (24 %) is even more spectacular.
Apart from the traditional agricultural produce, the Madhya Pradesh government is encouraging the farmers to take up horticulture and set of processing centres and ensure value addition.
In 2018, the government introduced a scheme to help farmers under which they could set up processing plants for onion, tomato, and soybean. Farmers’ children, above 18 years of age and have passed 10th examination will be eligible for loan up to 25 lakh rupees.
The scheme will be for setting up service centres for horticulture products processing and vegetable dehydration plants. There are reservation benefits under the scheme, 50 per cent of the subsidy will be given to SC and ST while the remaining 50 per cent will be available for the general category. MP government has set up a target to set up 1,000 such centres in the next three years and plans to raise loan amount to 40 lakh.
Madhya Pradesh is the best example of how good leadership can transform the whole state and alleviate the living standards. The upcoming generations of the state will be indebted to the great leader who single-handedly transformed the state. Shivraj Singh Chouhan demystified the belief that in post-liberalized India a state must embrace industrial and service sector growth for development.
Under the leadership of Chouhan state moved on the path of development by embracing agricultural growth and millions were pulled out of poverty through agriculture. On the other hand, Punjab’s politicians are engaged in rampant corruption instead of implementing reforms to improve the condition of farmers.